Last week I talked about the various cosmetic treatments available for skin pigmentation. This week I want to discuss some of the skin care ranges that are available. Many of the creams and serum targeted at brightening the skin include Vitamin C as the principal active ingredient. Vitamin C (or Ascorbic acid) is a potent anti-oxidant that protects the skin from the effects of free radicals, promotes collagen synthesis and lightens areas of abnormal pigmentation.
Vitamin C treats skin pigmentation by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase which regulates melanin production. It is important to choose the 'right' sort of Vitamin C when it comes to skin care. Ascorbic acid is not particularly stable in solution unlike derivatives such as Magnesium Ascorbyl Phophate so it's worth checking the ingredients list. Having said that, many of the ranges I investigated specified that they include a stable form of Vitamin C. Other active ingredients believed to regulate melanin production and 'de-pigment' the skin include Kojic acid, Azelaic acid, Retinoic acid (Tretinoin), Niacinamide and some Licorice (Glycyrrhiza) derivatives.
The best skin care regime for removing areas of darker pigmentation will include a cream or serum to lighten the affected areas and regulate melanin production, a chemical exfoliant to breakup and remove the areas of pigmentation (AHA's such as Glycolic and Lactic acids) and a good sunscreen.
I have already mentioned a few products designed to treat skin pigmentation issues in previous posts, such as the Alpha H White Gold, the Shiseido White Lucency range and Vitamin C & E serum from Renee Rouleau. There are quite a few other brands that offer targeted skin care regimes, this isn't a comprehensive list but these are some of the ones I thought sounded interesting.
Murad's Environmental Shield regime targets fine lines and wrinkles as well as pigmentation using a stable form of Vitamin C. I like Murad and particularly like the fact that it was created by a dermatologist. Environmental Shield encompasses a complete range of products from cleanser to eye cream. The specific treatment product from the regime includes the Essential-C Daily Renewal Complex and Active Radiance Serum, both of which have clinically proven efficacy. As well as the Vitamin C complex, the Active Radiance Serum includes AHAs to promote cell turnover so it's a bit of a double whammy. I'm told by my source in the know that the best way to use these is to apply the Daily Renewal Complex in the morning and the Active Radiance Serum in the evening.
Decleor offers an extensive range of products to tackle pigmentation spots and uneven skin tone, as well as a specific brightening facial available at Decleor salons. The Aroma White C+ Brightening range includes Peony and Saxifrage extracts combined with stable Vitamin C to work on evening skin pigmentation. I was particularly interested in the Brightening Serum and Spot Corrector as I imagine they would allow you to treat specific areas if you preferred not to treat the whole face. I have a few products to try from this range; Recovery Brightening Night Cream, Brightening Serum and Extreme Brightening Essence. I will report back on how I get on with these in due course although I have to say I am enjoying the serum very much.
I have previously mentioned Caudalie's Vinoperfect range. I bought the Vinoperfect day cream a little while ago and this is in the queue of products to try. The active ingredient in the Vinoperfect range is Viniferine which controls tyrosinase activity (to regulate melanin production), has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improves complexion radiance by stimulating blood flow. Caudalie report that in volunteer trials they observed a good reduction in size and intensity of dark spots. 91% of their volunteers also felt they had an improvement in radiance. There are three products in the range; a day cream, a night cream and a serum. The more recent addition to the Caudalie range, Premier Cru, is apparently good for dealing with hyperpigmentation too.
The New Zealand based skin care brand Snowberry have brought out a range called Bright Defence which is designed to brighten the skin whilst tackle the signs of ageing and hydrating the skin. The brightening agents in these products promise to lighten and reduce uneven skin tone without bleaching or peeling. If you've not come across Snowberry before, it is a premium anti-ageing skin care brand which aims to be highly functional whilst being as natural as possible. Their refusal to compromise on ingredients that may irritate the skin obviously yields good results as I know it has been a big hit with fellow bloggers who have reactive skin. I think this range would be a particularly good choice for anyone that has problems using AHAs.
The Bright Defence range comprises three day creams (oily, combination and dry skin formulations), a night cream and a serum. I am currently using one of the day creams and I will review it in more detail in a few weeks.
I have had recommendations for the Pigment Regulator from SkinCeuticals and Clinique's Dark Spot Corrector. Although I would like to investigate these I am conscious of not trying too many things at once and tend to stick to a strict 28 days per product rule. I will be reporting back on the items I already have to test once I have used them for at least a month. I know some of you have already been on this journey, which products have you tried and which did you feel gave you good results? Are there any that didn't live up to the hype?
Disclosure: The Decleor and Snowberry products have been sent to me without charge for the purpose of review.